IT’S NOW been six months since the local elections where the Labour Party formed the new administration and I had the honour of becoming leader of your city council.

I want us to be an open and transparent council. I want residents to be a part of our efforts to transform our city, and I want you to be able to hold us to account when we can be doing better.

I think this is as good as any time then to reflect on what we have achieved in the past six months for people who live, work and run businesses here and our vision for how we want to improve Brighton and Hove over the coming years.

My administration is driven by four key priority areas. These are leading the fight on climate chaos by making Brighton and Hove a carbon neutral city by 2030; promoting community wealth building to develop a circular local economy where we all gain from the money made and spent here in our city; tackling the housing crisis by building 800 new council homes, more genuinely affordable homes and combating rough sleeping, and strengthening our status as a City of Sanctuary by ensuring we are a welcoming city that doesn’t tolerate prejudice or bigotry.

Today I wanted to update you on our work and our aims for addressing the climate crisis.

I’m proud that this council was one of the first in the country to declare a climate emergency.

We must act and act fast if we want to mitigate climate chaos and leave the generations to come with a sustainable future, and we are leading the way here in Brighton and Hove.

After the elections I set up a cross-party working group to plan a programme to meet our target of becoming a carbon neutral city in the next decade.

This is a bold and ambitious plan, but one that we must deliver on, and one that is bigger than party politics. I’m proud to not only work with the other parties on this but to invite residents into the discussion.

Of course, to decarbonise our city all of us will have to make changes in our daily lives – so residents need to be part of the decision-making process because it affects all of us.

That is why next year we will be holding a climate assembly. This will provide a forum for residents to come together, discuss and debate the challenges and solutions, and to let their council know what plans and projects they envisage will decarbonise our city in a sustainable way.

This will ensure you have your say on how we ensure a future on this planet for the next generation.

Of course, we are taking action already. The vast majority of emissions that we generate locally come from petrol and diesel cars.

If we’re serious about combating climate change we have to change that. We are installing over 200 electric vehicle charging points and have already activated four high speed charging points for taxis – to make our city electric-vehicle friendly.

We appreciate that the more environmentally friendly electric-run cars are not affordable to many people yet, so we will be lobbying Government for investment. There needs to be a mass changeover from fossil fuel-run cars to alternatives and our city must not only be prepared for this but lead the way.

We are investing in improving the cycling and walking routes across the city to encourage a healthy and carbon-free means of travel.

We are the first city in the UK to have buses running in “zero-emission mode” through the city centre and when on board, you may have heard the announcements that you are entering a “low emission zone”.

Our city is also home to the first permanent public building made almost entirely from materials thrown away or not wanted.

If you’ve not visited the Brighton Waste House, it is worth taking a look at the work they are doing in reusing and recycling materials for construction purposes.

As a council we supported the youth climate strikes, and this year welcomed our first accredited climate change teacher in the city.

I want to be clear, we are not resting on our laurels. We have a long way to go. If we are going to reach our target of carbon neutrality by 2030, we must all come together and play our part.

I hope though you can see that we’ve been busy in our first six months taking action on the climate crisis, and we want your views on how we map out our fight against global warming over the next decade.

I really want to hear from you if you want to support the council on tackling the climate crisis. We face a monumental challenge to decarbonise our city.

It is only by working together, we can save our planet.